Have you ever eaten fruit or veg picked directly from someone’s garden? There’s nothing quite like it. But did you know that gardening can reward you with so much more than delicious fresh produce?
Whether it’s physical exercise, an improved mental health state or a new-found love of the outdoors, there’s many reasons why gardening is one of the world’s most popular hobbies. In this article, we’ll run through some of the ways that gardening can change your life for the better.
Health benefits of gardening
Finding the time and effort to keep up an exercise routine can be hard in today’s age, but the great thing about gardening is you can get your daily recommended work-out without even realising it. Research by Iowa State University shows that spending half an hour weeding can burn off around 150 calories, and you can burn off nearly 200 calories simply by digging holes. Raking leaves has also been recommended by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as a great way to lower blood pressure, and according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the combination of stress relief and physical exercise can lower your risk of heart disease.
There’s also a number of ways you can actively garden for health - by turning your gardening routine into a fitness regime! Instead of sitting on a chair or kneeling when you weed, squat and hold the position for as long as possible, you’ll feel the burn and get fitter each time. When you’re raking up leaves, rake long and hard, then haul off the debris, and you can burn off up to 300 calories in an hour.
As well as all that, getting out in the garden is a good excuse to get some time in the sun. Your body needs sunlight to naturally produce vitamin D, which helps to keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Just remember to put on some sun cream if you are going to be out for a while, wear a hat and avoid the mid-day sun if you can.
Gardening for mental health
Being active in the garden has also been known to greatly improve mental health and wellbeing. As well as boosting self-esteem and giving a sense of achievement, gardening is famous at being able to reduce stress. So much so that the NHS recently teamed up with the RHS to build a wellbeing garden for a London mental health hospital. Named the Feel Good Garden, the area provides a space of tranquillity for patients and their families. Andrew Kingston, the hospital’s Recovery Service Manager said "Gardens give people something to focus on other than their condition. Plants have the power to connect people in ways they don’t always expect.”
Just being near a green space has been proven to have its benefits. A study from Exeter University shows that people living nearer to green space have an improved mental health, making an argument that there should be more public green spaces in town and cities.
Gardening is good for you
Utilising a space to grow fresh fruit and vegetables is a special experience, but it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re a newcomer, it might seem like a daunting task, but it really doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a huge amount of space, in fact, you don’t even need a garden! You can start by sowing seeds indoors, which doesn’t cost too much and is very straight forward. From here, you can easily start growing delicious produce including tomatoes, lettuce, peas, and radishes, and all you need is to follow simple instructions and have a bit of patience.
It’s worth the wait too. Not only do you get the joy of watching your garden slowly transform by the day, you also get the benefit of eating your own produce, which is vital in leading a long and healthy life. Research from the American Heart Association has shown that those who eat more plant foods opposed to animal foods are 32% less likely to fall ill with cardiovascular disease.
Help the environment
Whether you’ve got acres of land or a small outside space, all gardening efforts play a part in helping out the environment. Using the process of photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide (the waste product we breath out), and convert it to oxygen and water, giving us more clear air to breath and helping to reduce pollution. Eating your own fruit and vegetables is also a good way to reduce the carbon footprint, as you’ll rely less on store bought foods, meaning you don’t have to use up petrol to drive to the shops, to pick up produce which has likely travelled from all over the world to get to you.
You’re also not just helping your own household when you have a garden, you’re helping an ecosystem of wildlife who use your garden as a home, from birds and dragonflies to bees and ants, these ecosystems exist to keep the world healthy.
How to get started
If you’re a newcomer to the gardening world and you’ve decided to revolutionise your outside space now you’ve just read this article; brilliant! The first step is to decide what to grow depending on the size of your space. From there, you can plan your garden beds and work out which soil is right for you, before sewing your seeds and nurturing until they blossom into beautiful plants. For more help, we recommend visiting your local garden centre, or taking a look at the RHS website. Happy gardening!
Investing in garden tools is also an essential part of the gardening experience, you can view Honda’s range here.